Garry Breitkreuz (Member for Yorkton-Mellville) introduced a private members bill (PMB) on February 25th, titled Bill C-655, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (interference with hunting, trapping, fishing or sport shooting).
In introducing the bill, Breitkreuz said, “While there is a patchwork of legislation at the provincial and territorial levels, the bill seeks to harmonize and clarify across Canada the protection of persons pursuing all of these outdoor heritage activities by placing these offences within the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Finally, I want to bring fairer representation for Canadian anglers, hunters, trappers and sport shooters to Parliament,” he added. “Animal rights groups would rather have us end our passion for these outdoor heritage activities.”
It didn’t take long for the hunting and trapping lobby to get on the bandwagon. The Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers sent out a press release supporting Breitkreuz’s PMB.
"By seeking to amend the Criminal Code, Mr. Breitkreuz is highlighting the fact that there should be protections afforded to the participants of lawful activities from anyone seeking to disrupt them on the basis of philosophical differences,” OFAH’s executive director Angelo Lombardo said in a press release.
OFAH, of course, cooked their books when talking about trapping, saying the hobby is worth $1.7 billion to the economy every year (which is more than the entire fur trade is worth in Canada).
What Breitkreuz is missing fits neatly into two key points:
- There’s already legislation in every province to prevent ‘interference’ with ‘legal’ activities such as trapping. This legislation would criminalize it at the federal level – much akin to how his fearless leader Stephen Harper has tried to demonize environmental and animal advocacy.
- The number of people who enjoy nature without killing by far outweigh those who prefer blood sports.
In fact, roughly $41.3 BILLION is spent on outdoor, nature-based recreation by Canadians – and only 5 per cent of that is hunting/trapping. A close examination of that data shows that trapping is a measly 0.5 per cent of the $41.3 billion that Canadians spend every year.
It’s time that our government started representing the majority of Canadians – those who do not want to kill animals, nor want to see animals killed for profit or sport in the jaws of cruel traps.
Write, call, tweet or Facebook your Member of Parliament and tell them that Bill C-655 goes against what you believe. Tell them that you are a constituent – a voter – and that their response will be remembered come election time.
Dear [Name of MP],
As a voter in your constituency, I implore you to oppose Bill C-655. This bill seeks to protect and promote the bloody sport of trapping – one that fewer Canadians choose to participate in every year. In fact, while the fur industry as a whole may represent close to $1 billion per year to Canada, outdoor recreation – non-violent recreation – represents over $40 BILLION every year.
It is time that our governments stop supporting this dwindling hobby of trapping and begin listening to what the majority of Canadians truly want – a safe place for our wildlife, pets and children.
Signed, [your name and address]
Photo of coyote caught in 'humane' padded leg-hold trap courtesy of Critter Care Wildlife Society.
The Fur-Bearers were one of the first animal welfare groups in Canada to lose their charitable status for opposing the government's stance on the fur trade. Our continued work speaking for those without a voice and running campaigns like Living With Wildlife, Humane Education, and #MakeFurHistory is only possible through the generous donations of our supporters. Please consider becoming a monthly donor for only $10/month and help us continue speaking for the animals.